By Darrel Crain, D.C.
“Water, gentlemen, is the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing. It sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips.” By coincidence, Jean Giraudoux wrote these words in 1945, the same year fluoride was first brought to American lips through the municipal water supply of Grand Rapids, Michigan. And so began the Great War on Cavities. Water supplies in the cities of America that day became Weapons of Mass Medication. The noble goal of this war, of course, was to enhance children’s dental health. Unfortunately, as Mr. Giraudoux also observed, “Everyone, when there’s war in the air, learns to live in a new element: falsehood.” It turns out that water also sucks out dirty industrial secrets and we are expected to swallow them.
The “father of fluoridation,” Dr. Trendley Dean assured everyone in the 1930s and 1940s that the addition of fluoride to water was “safe and effective,” even “necessary” for strong bones and teeth. Dr. Dean later gave courtroom testimony on two separate occasions that his original claims were based on invalid statistics. Perhaps we are now in a position to realize that “safe and effective” is a powerful secret code used by captains of American industry in place of a different term, “hideously toxic.”
We have only to recall that DDT in that same era was considered “safe and effective,” so much so that it was freely sprayed in classrooms and on the picnic tables of American schools. Oops! What about the assured safety of asbestos-lined pipes? Sorry! Or harmless leaded gasoline? Wrong again! Or the lingering global legacy of leaked PCBs from transformers? Way bad. All these products, save fluoride, have been removed from common use, but only after fierce political battles were waged to overcome powerful economic interests.
California state law now requires fluoridation of municipal water. A large portion of San Diego County will begin receiving fluoridated water within a year or two, in spite of strong public opposition. The scientific and ethical arguments against fluoridation are so overwhelming, one must ask, how is it possible that fluoridation retains enough support that laws are enacted against popular will? The apparent answer was well stated by Upton Sinclair, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it.” In order for the rest of us to understand fluoridation, let’s all go take a hike and follow the money trail!
First, what does fluoridation mean? Do we add calcium fluoride, which is naturally present in water to a varying degree already? No. Do we use pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride such as the stuff your dentist puts on your teeth (and pharmacists once sold as cockroach poison)? Nope, neither. The answer is in a riddle: What toxic waste is very dangerous to handle and expensive to dispose of, unless you happen to sell it as a medicinal product to be added to water? You guessed it! It is a 23% solution of the highly toxic industrial waste, hydrofluorosilicic acid, scrubbed out of the smokestacks of the fertilizer and aluminum industries. Yum! What other tasty ingredients do you suppose make up the remaining 77% of the solution? Ladies and gentlemen, the odor you smell is the fresh scent along the money trail. “The fluorosilicic acid is also contaminated with small traces of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, sulfates, iron and phosphorous, not to mention radionuclides,” according to the Earth Island Journal. Whoa, I’m getting thirsty!
No self-respecting money trail would be found dead without a few bodies of evidence buried in the ditch alongside, a decent smoldering scandal lying across its path, or shredded bits of inconvenient science littering the trail. Let’s see what we can dig up.
For starters, Americans already ingest significant amounts of fluoride in beverages and processed foods. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) admits that 32% of American children already display physical signs of fluoride overdose, called fluorosis, the discoloration and pitting of the teeth. Despite assurances that this is a “strictly cosmetic” health problem, evidence to the contrary is accumulating. The largest and most comprehensive study to date looked at two New York cities. Newburgh, which has been fluoridated for fifty years was compared to non-fluoridated Kingston. The study found no significant difference between the two cities for children’s decayed, missing and filled teeth, but discovered twice the rate of dental fluorosis in children in the fluoridated city. Other studies in fluoridated cities have shown an increased risk of hip fracture in the elderly, as well as increased lead levels in children’s blood. Then there was the Harvard researcher who last year apparently attempted to cover-up evidence linking fluoridation to a five-fold increase in a type of fatal bone cancer in young boys.
Julius Caesar once noted, “All bad precedents began as justifiable measures.” Progress in science inevitably produces loads of mistakes, but the key is to avoid repeating them. Cicero’s words from 2,000 years ago still ring true, “Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”
A common belief holds that modern public decision-making no longer relies on superstition and politics, rather it flows from pure scientific reasoning. If that were true, do you suppose we would have so many modern skyscrapers with no thirteenth floor? The myth that fluoride is an essential nutrient has long been laid to rest. The time has come for American industry to dispose of hydrofluorosilicic acid in some other way besides forcing Americans to drink it.
Let us admit that mass medication in the nation’s water supply is a bad idea. As Robert Dickson, M.D. pointed out, “Dental decay is a condition associated with poor nutrition, overuse of sugary foods and drinks, poor dental hygiene and lack of good quality basic dental care.” Citizens, let us lay down our weapons and pick up our toothbrushes!
Dr. Darrel Crain
Natural Health Writer
President, CCA San Diego County District
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